Thursday, November 26, 2009

everybody loves lesbians! male homos? not so much.

ugh. i've had a number of boring conversations with a bisexual female friend regarding the lesbian-laden ads that have become ubiquitous lately. she insists that it's because we here in america have become so much more accepting of homosexuality. i insist that it's because men find lesbianism sexy and we live in a society that caters to male sexual imperatives. and i usually like to throw in the fact that my bi friend would obviously prefer it if we lived in a world where homosexuality is no big deal. she'd also prefer it if her sexual predilections weren't fodder for male masturbatory fantasies. boy, some people are a bit unrealistic when it comes to how the world works.

there are any number of ads featuring women suggestively eying each other while polishing off drinks or trying on jeans and while the sexual aspect may not always be overt, it's certainly implied. and you can't open a magazine or look at more than a few billboards without seeing this stuff. the ads always feature women though, because female homosexuality is a turn-on for straight men who are still repulsed and threatened by male homosexuality. more women should be disgusted by the cheap exploitation of their sexuality, but people are congenitally incapable of ceding their beloved (and wholly imagined) autonomy, so exploitation has been instead processed as some kind of general acceptance for all homosexuality. dummies.

much as i hate always being right, some proof of my astonishing brilliance came this week. an out male singer named adam lambert tongue-kissed a male bandmate during a performance recently and it's kicked up a storm. now, i know what you're thinking: the famous britney spears-madonna lip-lock also caused quite a stir. but that was a few years ago and same sex kissing should be old news by now, right? well, here's your big old double standard: when lambert appeared on a cbs tv show to talk about this incident, the guy-on-guy kiss was blurred by censors, yet during the same show they re-aired the ol' britney-madonna spit-fest and there was no blurring. you read that correctly: a network television show blurred video of a man-to-man kiss as if it was a mutilated body but then showed a completely uncensored woman-to-woman kiss scant minutes later.

the moral of this story is simple: if you're a lesbian and you think that your sexual orientation is gaining acceptance in society, you are an idiot. lesbianism is being exploited by oversexed men who find it titillating, plain and simple. just because you want a magical world where there's no prejudice doesn't mean you should turn a blind eye to reality. somebody at cbs' standards and practices felt that it would be totally okay to show a couple of girls playing tongue hockey, while a clip of two guys doing the same thing was handled like the footage was of a bloody massacre. hello?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

well, at least they like the president. for all the goddamned good that does.

here's a poll with some bad news for barack obama and the democrats: nobody really likes the health care reform plan. what would a majority of americans prefer? why, they would prefer a bill with the public option and no "states opt-out" clause. but the only way a healthcare bill with a public option can get passed into law is if it has an opt-out clause. this is why the democrats will lose a lot of seats in 2010. and unless the GOP picks a really awful candidate (yoo-hoo, sarah!), they'll likely have a good shot at retaking the white house in 2012. because the democrats are taking the second opportunity they've been given to fix the healthcare problem in this country and blowing it. badly.

ooh, i hate it when people like things that I don't like!

tomorrow the second of the 'twilight' films will be released. it's called 'new moon' and i get the feeling that for every person looking forward to it, there are probably just as many people engaging in some form of pre-emptive vomiting over the film. i didn't see 'twilight', as it got mostly bad reviews. and i likely won't see 'new moon' either, even if it gets good reviews. mostly because i don't give much of a shit about 'twilight'.

i visit the onion av club site a lot. and this week as part of their jokingly titled "i watched this on purpose" series, the subject was the first 'twilight' film. the result was about as snarky as you would imagine, though the writer, an adult male, deserves some credit for realizing that 'twilight' wasn't exactly conceived for his demographic. unfortunately, the legion of numbskulls who posted on the comment boards to pillory anybody stupid enough to actually enjoy 'twilight' were unable to assume even that small amount of empathy. when "this sucks and aren't we all so clever for not liking it" circle-jerks break out, i get depressed. why do intelligent people need that sort of thing? yup, 'twilight', a bizarre modern gothic/vampire romance series cooked up by a mormon writer named stephanie meyer, sounds ridiculous. so what? why does any ostensibly secure adult care what other people enjoy?

because looking down on others is one of the best ways to feel better about yourself. what's more ego-boosting than pinpointing an entire subset of the population and defining them as being clearly and fundamentally stupider than you? and if you can find a group of like-minded smarties whose points of view are congruent with yours, so much the better! it'd be saddening to encounter this stuff if these people weren't so unbearably smug about themselves. as it is, i have considerably more contempt for people who hate (supposedly) stupid crap than i do for the (supposedly) contemptible masses who lap it up.

more often than not, crazes like 'twilight' are ephemeral in society. of course, the books may have a lasting entertainment value for teenagers reading them today but 'twilight' isn't likely to affect how someone chooses to live their life in any significant way. most teenage girls will outgrow it. and the small number who don't leave it behind as they move into adulthood are likely the sort of needy types who, one way or another, would have found something else to lose themselves in anyhow. the specifics of what these people like are, by and large, unimportant.

what's comical about film nerds laughing at the stupidity of 'twilight' fans is obvious: they're no better. the only difference (which is ultimately negligible) is this: many film nerds believe the things they obsess over are genuinely worth obsessing over. it simply boils down to a matter of whether or not one has good taste! the nerve of other people, getting wrapped up in something that film nerds don't approve of! it's a false dichotomy but you can't point that out to hyper-critical film nerds, because they either believe that it's ok to be obsessive about certain things (as long as those things are, in their opinion, worth obsessing over), or they simply won't acknowledge on any level that they are just as obsessive themselves.

the comment boards of sites that attract film nerds are hilarious and pathetic. these people are not paid film critics, yet they consider themselves obligated to see nearly every film that gets released. and in taking on film critic-like duties, they have somehow assumed a stunning sense of outrage regarding which films fail or succeed. it's truly bizarre to read comments from people who honestly think that michael bay's continuing success is a gross injustice, as opposed to, let's say homelessness, which they don't seem to give a shit about. of course, it's a lot easier to fulminate about something trivial than it is about something important. because yowling over the undeserving fame of some douchebag director doesn't leave one in the awkward position of having to back up the complaint with real action. though doing so would mean that you couldn't gripe about how bad it is, you could simply avoid the guy's next movie! complain about the problem of homelessness and you've got a problem yourself: there are things you could do to help, so why the fuck aren't you doing them?

film critics have a tough job, as i see it. they have to watch a lot of crappy movies and then, unlike the rest of us, feign at least some degree of objectivity and review what they've endured. but like most of us, they aren't really objective. as we progress through life, our experiences (and the things we learn from them) create a personalized sort of prism through which we view everything. the problem is that few of us realize that our own responses are rarely, if ever, objective in any true sense. that's why film reviews should generally be taken with a grain of salt. ideally, one could take the opinions of film nerds who get so much pleasure out of hating things the same way. but there is something about the braying, strident obnoxiousness of these people that i find repellently fascinating. the surety with which they hand down their pronunciations on everyone else's unworthiness is astonishing.

yup, people who line up to see the new 'twilight' movie are dopes, but most of them are teenagers, a group predisposed to engage in dopey activities. that's more than can be said for adults who actually waste hours of their lives obsessing over what other people like and getting angry about it.

by the way, werner herzog's remake of 'bad lieutenant' (starring that atrocious ham, nicholas cage) also opens tomorrow. it looks like a deliberately campy, steaming pile of shit. anybody who goes to see it is an idiot. but i'm not being judgmental when i say that, merely making an objective observation. haha.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

jonathan karl: asshole of the week.

jonathan karl is an abc congressional reporter who wrote a story that is attracting some interest lately. it concerns a website that the obama administration has put up to prove how effective the stimulus has been, showing different congressional districts where jobs were created. the problem is, there are a number of non-existent congressional districts listed on the site. this may be mere incompetency on the part of the webmaster for that particular site or it may be something worse. still, it's hard to imagine such diligent reporting on something so minor taking place during the bush administration.

this morning i happened to hear karl on brian lehrer's NPR radio show. they talked about the misattributed stimulus business and then lehrer switched gears. since karl is a congressional reporter, lehrer decided to ask him about all the stonewalling republicans are doing in regards to obama's attempts to place judges on the federal bench. karl, who'd handled himself with considerable aplomb before that moment suddenly turned into a stuttering, equivocating mess. before he could even begin to answer lehrer's question, he had to stumble through a long pre-amble making it perfectly clear that both parties have done this and the democrats have a long history of obstructionism themselves. and this is true, to some degree. but the republicans are seemingly working to set records for obstruction at this point. they're outdoing the democrats by leaps and bounds. so why can't karl simply say this? because when the truth seems to have a liberal bias, reporters don't want to get anywhere near it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

the couch potato: infernal affairs, the departed, 5 against the house, the line-up.

this week i finally got around to seeing the hong kong thriller 'infernal affairs' (directed by johnny to) which film buffs know as the source for martin scorsese's 'the departed'. both films follow the parallel stories of an undercover cop infiltrating the mob and a mob mole in the police department. some people who don't like the scorsese film have held up the original as a perfect example of lean modern thrillers and insist that scorsese shouldn't have added so much junk to his film. personally, i think both films are flawed and in spite of those flaws, both films are pretty entertaining. 'infernal affairs', at just a little over 90 minutes, is certainly tighter, but that doesn't necessarily make it better. it feels compacted and a bit rushed, which detracts from any serious impact it might have on a viewer. oddly, scorsese's film, at slightly over 2 and a 1/2 hours similarly feels a bit rushed. considering how much more there is of jack nicholson's mob boss than there needs to be (nicholson is terrible in the film), one wishes that his screen time had been given over to other characters. the original film does not feature a plot line where the two main characters end up sharing the same woman. which is too bad actually, because while i understand that some people felt it was a bit contrived, i found it one of the more oddly interesting things in the scorsese film. what better way to push the 'doppleganger' aspect of the story than that? 'infernal affairs' has a somewhat tighter conclusion. 'the departed' turns the show-down between damon and dicaprio into an unintentionally funny blood-bath, but johnny to's original lowers the body count and stages part of the confrontation perfectly. the only thing 'infernal affairs' gets wrong is how it depicts the death of tony leung as the undercover cop. even when i saw scorsese's film a second time and knew what was about to happen, i still recoiled when dicaprio got shot. in to's film this aspect of the conclusion is somewhat muted and less effective, though as i said, to compensates here by wrapping the sequence up much more effectively than scorsese does. no awful symbolic rat running across a railing for johnny to! and unlike 'the departed', 'infernal affairs' does not feature a scene where the female police psychiatrist tells the undercover cop "your vulnerability is really freaking me out here" just before hopping into the sack with him. i missed that, because i am firmly convinced that no woman has ever said anything like those words to a man as prelude to sex in the history of the human race and i really wanted to hear what they sounded like in chinese. dammit.

thanks to netflix, i saved myself some cash and saw two of the five films in the recent columbia pictures film noir classics package: 'five against the house' and 'the line-up'. the first of these is a surprisingly well-regarded heist thriller from 1955 directed by some fellow named phil karlsen. boy, all i can say about 'five...' is that some people will give props to anything if it's part of a genre they love and directed by some obscure douchebag whose brilliance they want to make a case for. the story concerns four college students, one of whom gets the "wacky" idea to rob a casino for laughs. dontcha know that another of their number is an unstable korean war veteran who decides that it's a great idea and should be seen through, with him getting all the cash? the resulting film is even more ridiculous than it sounds, believe it or not. keep in mind that by 1955 we'd already had superlative work like 'the asphalt jungle' and 'rififi' in this particular genre, with jean-pierre melville's wonderful 'bob le flambeur' also released in '55. but even if those great films didn't exist, 'five against the house' would still be a piece of shit. if there's one thing that annoys me it's auteurists who insist that mediocre directors like karlsen are unjustly neglected when it's fairly obvious to anybody who sits through crap like 'five against the house' that there's a legitimate reason why karlsen isn't better known: he and his films stink. actually, i'm not being completely serious there. 'five against the house' is competently directed, but not any more so than loads of mediocre product released by hollywood during the 50s. but there is a phil karlsen cult out there. what do these people see? is it just the thrill of being in some ultra-exclusive club? why elevate mere competence in this way? though i will say that brian keith gives a good performance in the film as the unbalanced vet and kim novak looks as jaw-droppingly gorgeous in it as ever. yowch. that woman could wear the fuck out of a tight dress.

the other film from the columbia noir collection is a little bit better. 'the line-up' was directed by don siegel in 1958 and though it's a decidedly mixed bag, i sort of enjoyed the film. for one thing, it's pretty well-directed by siegel, another favorite of auteurist nerds. i have some respect for siegel (he made the original 'invasion of the body snatchers') but he's inarguably uneven. again, nerds seem to think that once they say a director's work is good, that means it's all good, period. but siegel made a lot of hacky, undistinguished films during his long career and 'the line-up' just barely escapes earning the "hacky and undistinguished" label. what saves it is a terrific performance from eli wallach as a psychopathic hitman, the interesting relationship his character has with a genteel mentor played by robert keith, and direction that is occasionally (during a couple of the murders and most of the film's climax) quite good. the plot of the film is a mess though. it involves a drug smuggling ring that employs the most excruciatingly stupid method for getting their product into the country one could imagine. funnily, 'five against the house' and 'the line-up' both have the same screenwriter credited: a fellow named stirling silliphant, who went on to win an academy award in 1967 for 'in the heat of the night', unless i'm mistaken. this is yet another validation of my theory that the academy awards are utterly meaningless. or proof that this silliphant guy took writing lessons after churning out these two pieces of shit. by the way: 'the line-up' has a commentary track. i normally love listening to those, even if it's for a mediocre movie but this one features annoying blow-hard crime author james ellroy. ellroy managed to utter exactly one sentence in his trademark pseudo-hipster-jive lingo before i turned the commentary off. man, that guy is a fucking tool.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

democrats: the gang that can't shoot straight. unless they're aiming the guns at themselves...

while there's a way to go, it's a safe bet that the democrats will not benefit from whatever "healthcare reform" bill they manage to pass. most of what i've read about the plan indicates that it won't help all that many people and it seems to have been conceived to simply force some large number of citizens onto the rolls of for-profit insurance companies. sure, those same companies have been making a lot of loud public complaints, but i get the feeling it's just for show. there's no reason for them to fear any democratic legislation. even if the insurance companies are forced to take on some folks with pre-existing conditions, that'll be offset by all the healthy young people who'll have to enroll in some kind of insurance plan or face a fine.

so the democrats had a chance to do something decent and they dropped the ball. what a surprise. i guess they figured that they couldn't exactly give us a reprise of '94, where it was obvious to anybody who watched the process that the dems had no interest whatsoever in really changing anything. no, this time they're going to loudly trumpet their "victory" and all the people who voted for the democrats in '08 hoping that they'd really do something about the healthcare crisis are going to look into the particulars of the bill and ask themselves "what the fuck are they talking about?"

much as it happened in '94, disappointed democratic party voters will not bother to vote in the upcoming mid-term elections. media commentators will attribute this to an obama backlash and since obama is as much to blame as anybody else, this will not be entirely incorrect. but the nattering nabobs of the media will be wrong on the details. this is the second time in recent history that the democrats have come to power thanks to voters who really expected something from them. and the second time that the democrats will have failed miserably to deliver on what those people were expecting. while a fair amount of the blame in both cases can be laid at the feet of conservative 'blue-dog democrats' who consistently derail liberal initiatives, that excuse only goes so far. the democrats could form a tighter, more disciplined caucus and stop allowing conservative democrats to wield undue influence on policy decisions. the republicans certainly don't put up with much dissension among their ranks. as repulsive as they may be otherwise, the republicans are a model party when it comes to enforcing unity of message among their members. to any sane observer, it should be crystal clear at this point that the democrats no longer want to address populist concerns in any substantial way.

republicans are lucky, in a sense. they've come up with a strange method of taking corporate-friendly policies and making them appeal to common folk. the democrats have a much more difficult tightrope to walk: the dems still run based on (vaguely) liberal-populist policies, but thanks to the influence of corporate money, they rarely act on their supposed commitment to those policies. the democrats didn't get cast into the political wilderness a few years ago because of the "unpopularity" of liberal ideas. they lost power due to the entirely astute perception among the voting public that they don't stand for anything.

that, alongside their pathetic excuse for "healthcare reform" is why the mid-term elections in 2010 will be a bloodbath for the democrats. the only possible chance the dems have is if the extremist 'tea-party' sector of the republican party continues to grow and scare the hell out of normal people. otherwise, the dems are toast. i find it hard to give much of a fuck.

gambling? in casablanca? REALLY??!?

a new poll says that there is no place in the world today where a majority of the people are entirely satisfied with free-market capitalism as it is practiced. history ended a long time ago and this is what we're stuck with, morons. forever and ever. so get used to it. you think democracy is going to address your grievances? har-de-har-har.

Friday, November 6, 2009

HR 3548

president obama will sign the UI extension bill today. it's a victory for the republicans though. they managed to hold the thing up for a month by insisting on the inclusion of a number of wholly unrelated amendments. and the bill being signed will, thanks to the republicans, have one of those amendments still attached: the controversial homebuyer's tax credit. controversial because of the fraud associated with it and because it's basically been acknowledged that it isn't spurring anybody to buy a house. nearly everybody who's benefitted from the credit would have bought a house anyway.

it's a victory for the republicans because they were able to hold the bill up for a month using a bunch of frivolous amendments to do so and most of the mainstream media let the story pass without comment. do you remember the coverage during the bush administration on the rare instances when the democrats occasionally slowed down the legislative process? the republicans spend most of their time in the senate nowadays preventing the democrats from getting things done. where's the reporting on this? it's deliberate obstructionism. the republicans held up a bill for UI extensions and as each day passed, more and more unemployed people found themselves with no source of income. where's the outrage? meanwhile, the crazies who are comparing obama to hitler because of the dem healthcare plan get quite a lot of fairly credulous coverage. remember how the anti-war movement lost face with the media after the move-on dust-up where someone submitted an anti-war ad that compared bush to hitler? that came up over and over again. why doesn't it happen with obama's virulently insane critics? why isn't the entire movement discredited based on the prevalence of extremists within it? because the supposedly liberal media has allowed itself to be boxed into a corner regarding conservatives and republicans. republicans have loudly complained about liberal bias in the media for so long that it's now accepted as the truth. as a result, the media is simply loathe to do honest reporting when conservatives are involved. and conversely, they're delighted when they can report scandals that make the democrats look bad, because they can use that coverage to disprove their liberal bias. and of course it doesn't work, because there's always something else that, according to cons, proves how liberal the newsmedia is. and on it goes...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

fuck the yankees. really.

how many pennants have these guys won? should they even be allowed to play in the world series? how funny is it that the moneyball team wins the world series just a few days after the moneybags candidate for the mayoralty of new york won re-election to a third term? can he and the yankees both go fuck themselves? please?

honestly. tomorrow there'll be a ticker-tape parade for the yanks. you can go scream and throw things at them. i'd like to scream "fuck you" and throw a bag of pig shit. the yankees are a big corporation that pays its players a lot of money because they win ball games. the corporation and the players make huge amounts of money on this deal. what do you get out of it exactly? why, you get to stand around on the sidelines and yell your fool head off! wooo! number one, baby! yeah!

i'd ask whether you feel stupid, but if you like pro-sports it's hardly likely that you'd have enough sense to know how big an idiot you are. have fun at the parade tomorrow. woooo! number one, baby! gooooo yankees!

fuck you.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

TGIF (thank god it failed!) on monday

the hipsters who hate 'juno'-scribe diablo cody can exhale today, as it's official: her new movie is a flop. 'jennifer's body', the horror-comedy-whatever starring inexplicably famous mannequin megan fox, has done poorly in the weekend box-office sweepstakes. JB grossed about one-fifth as much as this weekend's number one film, the CGI-animated 'cloudy with a chance of meatballs'.

as an older person who has outgrown such nonsense, i really don't get the "ooh, i hope she fails/wish she'd drop dead already" boner that a lot of people seem to have for diablo cody. i saw 'juno' and thought it was pleasant. the film won cody an oscar for best screenplay, which really seems to trouble people who should know better. when did the academy award go from being a big fucking joke to most of us (meaning most of us who aren't members of the academy) to something that actually matters in the real world? nicholas cage won for best actor a few years ago. clearly the oscar is a wholly meaningless award if it can be given to nic cage unironically.

diablo cody stands accused of being a bad writer and truly annoying person. after gaining fame for 'juno', cody started blogging, giving interviews, writing the 'jennifer's body' screenplay and generally refusing to die from that combination of late-stage cancer and wounds sustained in a fire that those who hate her think would be fair punishment for their having to sit through all 105 minutes of 'juno'. it's strange the way lifeless nerds react to things that they don't like becoming successful. you'd think there was a branch of the government out there devoted to making sure that people are forced to keep up with everything diablo cody does. there are fools out there who cite chapter and verse of cody's every supposedly offensive utterance when they make their case that she deserves to die a bloody and painful death. yeesh. get a life already.

i'm sure there'll be plenty of schadenfraud over various comments boards tomorrow and it'll be even more ugly and pathetic than usual. for some reason the mostly male nerds who congregate at certain sites seem to hate a lot famous women with true vehemence. real hatred for celebrities: another concept whose value eludes me. i understand where it comes from though and especially why it tends to be disproportionately directed at women by certain types of guys. celebrities are, no matter what incensed diablo cody haters would have you believe, fundamentally harmless. there's nothing the average cowardly douchebag likes more than a target who can't fight back.

the av club comments boards (for one example) are positively swimming with males who can't mention a woman without rhapsodizing about how much they'd like to fuck her. if you really want a laugh, post a comment in the middle of one of these "i want to bone this actress" threads suggesting that there's something juvenile and obnoxious about that kind of behavior when it's conducted in public. i've done it a few times and the responses have been hilarious in their relentless stupidity. apparently, i must be either gay or neutered to say such civilized things. keep in mind that most av club posters are educated types who consider themselves to be much higher on the food chain than joe six-pack, yet they employ similar logic to old joe when it comes to male imperatives like boorishly reducing all women to potential fucks. a lot of the virulent disrespect for women that's expressed on the site is an ugly combination of fear and the casual misogyny that lurks beneath the surface with many men. it's hard not to conclude that lots of av club posters just don't like women once you've visited the site a few times.

hey nerd! guess what? once your unseemly joy over the failure of 'jennifer's body' wears off after a couple of days, you'll find yourself red-faced and fulminating about some other undeserving celebrity who in your far-from-humble opinion seems to epitomize everything that's wrong with the world. wanna know why? because you're a big fucking loser, that's why.